The traditional method

The traditional method used to be called Méthode Champenoise. It may have been invented by Dom Pérignon or Charles Merret?

The wine from Champagne before Méthode Champenoise was described as, 'a thin acidic and uninteresting wine, cheap and consumed locally’. Champagne after Méthode Champenoise is 'a wine in great demand, commanding high to extremely high prices’.

Most important quality factor of sparkling wine made by the traditional method is linked to yeast autolysis, which affects flavour and bubble stability. Quality traditional Champagne is low in grape flavour which is allows for delicate aromas of autolysis: nuts, toast, and cream. The wine should show a fine persistent bead of bubbles and a mousse that doesn’t collapse immediately but retains a ring. Proteins from yeast autolysis act as surfactants (surface active agents), which form a gas/liquid boundary in the bubble and prevent rapid growth and also slow drainage of wine in foam, thus stabilising the foam.

Some traditional method wines such as Cava & some New World styles are more fresh, fruity & easy to drink. The aromas of autolysis can be hidden by the fruit from the grapes. These are generally not worth ageing